Why does Texas rank second to Florida for boating accidents and fatalities? It’s the weather. Mild seasons are a magnet for boating enthusiasts, and lately with all the extra rain, school being out, and the opening of boating season Texas waterways are going to be particularly crowded. It is now that boaters need to be even more cautious and to adhere to safe boating rules and regulations.
Consider the disturbing Memorial Day boating accidents statistics from 2014: seven drowning deaths, and 21 boating accidents (including four fatalities). During that Memorial Day weekend 31 were arrested for boating while under the influence (BUI), 38 taken into custody for drug-related offenses, 14 were cited for public drunkenness and 7 arrested for DWI.
2015 was not a good year for boating accidents either. A total of 148 boating accidents were reported along with 38 deaths and 97 boating accident injuries. The pattern is pretty clear. Do not drink and drive a boat.
Sure, long weekends out on the waterways are perfect for relaxing and having fun, but common sense still needs to prevail. That common sense may safe a life. Hot sun, cold beer, parties, tanning and loud music are the order of the day. Many don’t realize that the heat from the sun boosts the effects of alcohol, resulting in faster than usual inebriation.
What are the top causes for boating accidents? Operators are not paying attention to what they are doing and where they are going, are speeding, or are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. And it’s not just the younger crowd contributing to these dismal numbers. Most boating accidents involve a boat operator of 35 years or older.
Don’t drink while boating — just don’t do it. Wear a lifejacket. Don’t speed. Pay attention to your surroundings. Be safe, not sorry. It’s a no-brainer.